When you sail, you want to make sure you are getting the best possible fare. Disney Cruise Line is known for offering very few discounts on regular fare, but that doesn’t mean there are no deals to be found. The trick is knowing where to find them and if you qualify for them. Even if you don’t qualify for the discounts below, knowing when to book to get the best fare and what months offer the best fares will help you get the most cruise for your vacation dollar.
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Disney Cruise Fare Trends and Special Offers
If you have ever priced the same Disney cruise over time, you notice one thing: As time goes by, rooms fill, and the price for remaining rooms goes up.
Fares rarely ever go down, and if they do, it is likely due to a particular port of call reducing port fees.
Looking for Special Offers? Disney publishes special fares for all to see, but they don’t make it easy. You can find the link at the bottom of most pages on the Disney Cruise Line website, or click here:
Get to know the categories – usually by residency or military affiliation – and see which offers may apply to you and your family.
Florida and Canadaian Resident Discounts
If your legal residence is in Florida or Canada, Disney Cruise Line regularly offers discounts just for you and your family. Discounts vary by ship and itinerary, and pay special attention to the rules in regard to deposits and final payments.
- Must provide proof of residency within 48 hours of booking.
- Book online, call (800) 388-4513 or contact your Travel Agent.
Below you will see the standard fare and discounted fare for 2 Adult Guests for a 4-Night Bahamian Halloween on the High Seas cruise on the Disney Dream departing from Port Canaveral, Florida:
Florida Resident Discount Fare
- Fare discounts are usually a percentage off (often 25%).
- Must provide proof of residency at the port.
- Book online, call (800) 491-9744 – mention code CAN – or contact your Travel Agent.
U.S. Military Discounts
Special Military rates are available to all retired and active U.S. Military personnel (or spouse), including U.S. Air Force, U.S. Army, U.S. Marines, U.S Navy, U.S. Coast Guard, U.S. National Guard, U.S. Army Reserve and U.S. Department of Defense personnel. Valid military ID is required.
As with residency-based discounts, the amount you save can vary, but your savings can be significant. Below you will see the standard fare and discounted fare for 2 Adult Guests for a 4-Night Bahamian Halloween on the High Seas cruise on the Disney Dream departing from Port Canaveral, Florida:
Military Discounted Fare
Click the link below to see all current discounts for U.S. Military personnel.
Other Special Offers (Also known as Last Minute Discounts)
Disney periodically offers special rates when a cruise does not fill as quickly as they anticipated. However, do not count on these discounts when planning your cruise budget. This is what I have learned.
- These discounts are unpredictable – you never know when they will appear.
- These discounts rarely ever apply to cruises departing form Port Canaveral, Florida on the Disney Dream or Alaskan sailings.
- The Disney Magic and Disney Wonder have the lion share of discounts – even though I find sailing on the smaller ships quite enjoyable.
Last minute deals used to be a regular thing. Now I see them far less frequently. Bottom line on this discount:
Be happy if you find a last minute fare you can use, but do not ever count on it.
Onboard Booking Discounts
The best way to guarantee a discount on a Disney Cruise is to book your next cruise while on your current cruise. Visit the Future Sailings Desk onboard to secure your discount. In addition to a 10% reduction in fare, most sailings qualify for $100-$200 in onboard credit (per stateroom).
Don’t know when you will sail next? No problem. You can book what is called a Placeholder. For $250 per stateroom, your placeholder guarantees you will receive 10% off the fare (not including taxes and port fees) of any cruise you take within 24 months of your current cruise.
Future Cruise Planning Desk: Disney Dream
Finally, when booking your next cruise onboard, you should note any blackout dates, usually around major holidays.
Cruises That Cost Less
Knowing that discounts are few and far between, it only makes sense to take a look at seasons and itineraries that cost less.
- When US school children are on vacation, expect fares to be more expensive. Think Spring Break, Easter, Summer Break, Thanksgiving weekend and Christmas (mid-December through New Years).
- So, as soon as these holidays conclude, expect a drop in cruise prices.
Following that logic, cruises in January and September tend to be the best value.
Also, sailings which begin or end in San Juan, Puerto Rico tend to cost less per day. However, as these are not closed loop cruises, airfare will be required either to or from San Juan. So be sure to factor that into your budget.
Be sure to check out DCL Prep School’s The Best Time of Year to take a Disney Cruise.
Secure the Best Price By Booking Early
The best fares are found by those who book early. As I mentioned at the beginning of this article, once ships begin to fill, Guests wishing to book one of the remaining rooms will pay a higher price.
Disney Cruise Line releases fares 18-20 months in advance. The day cruises are available for booking is called Opening Day. Booking on Opening Day guarantees you will book at the lowest published rate available since the entire ship is empty and available for booking.
Do prices go up the next day? Not always. On highly desirable, limited itineraries like Alaska, expect prices to rise fairly quickly. Bahamian cruises may offer “Opening Day” prices for weeks. BUT this is never guaranteed.
If you know when you want to sail, book it! Don’t wait.
Combining Onboard Booking and Opening Day Prices
This is the ultimate Discount Double Dip. Ok, so Opening Day prices aren’t technically a discount, but published rates will go up.
How this works:
- When you are onboard, book a placeholder. It’s good for any sailing within the next 24 months.
- On Opening Day call DCL (or better yet, have your travel agent do it), and you will receive 10% off the published fare that day.
- Celebrate! You have secured the best price for your cruise.